At the risk of sacrificing any shred of credibility I have left after constantly writing about ABC Family shows, I must admit that I was not even alive when the majority of John Hughes's films came out. But before you start counting back on your fingers in horror, allow me to say that, despite my untimely year of birth, my childhood (and perhaps current life) was filled with longing to be a member of the Brat Pack. Why? Because John Hughes left behind a legacy of teen comedies that even 12-year-olds with cell phones can appreciate. (Sidenote: I didn't have a cell phone until I was 16). Here are five reasons why these movies will stand the test of time:
The world lost a great filmmaker this week, as legendary screenwriter and director John Hughes passed away. Not only did the man write and direct many of the 1980s' greatest, funniest films -- Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off -- he wrote the screenplays for dozens more, including Pretty in Pink, Home Alone and the first three Vacation movies. We went through his body of work to pull out some of the funniest lines that we still quote to this day.
Where, oh where has John Hughes gone? This is what Patrick Goldstein asked in his March 24 Los Angeles Times column. Apparently, the writer-director has come to resemble another famous Hughes (Howard) in his reclusive life somewhere outside Chicago. The man identified with the teen films of the 1980s and the "let's hit burglars in the balls" trend of the 1990s still maintains a powerful following among Hollywood's younger filmmakers. "He's our generation's J.D. Salinger," writer-director Kevin Smith told Goldstein. "Basically my stuff is just John Hughes films with four-letter words." Now I like Smith a lot and have enjoyed more of his films than I haven't, but has he watched some of Hughes' works since he was a teen? Sixteen Candles is the only one that stands the test of time. I dare anyone who loved The Breakfast Club in their youth to watch it now and not come out of it on Paul Gleason's side. (Judd Nelson alone makes you root for corporal punishment.) Hughes' absence has led people to see his work only through nostalgia's rose-colored specs and to forget how he eventually recycled bits and plots in film after film after film. Home Alone begat Baby's Day Out (because nothing is funnier than watching a baby in jeopardy as long as you get to see Joe Pantoliano stomping on Joe Mantegna's burning crotch at the same time. Come to think of it, it's a more violent act than anything Joey Pants did on The Sopranos). He could also merge the farce of Home Alone with the low-rent Albee truth games of The Breakfast Club and come up with Career Opportunities, memorable only for Jennifer Connelly riding a department store rocking horse. Smith, Judd Apatow and others shouldn't sell themselves short: Their best is light years better than anything Hughes ever did.
We were delighted to see that Hulu had a nice variety of John Hughes movie clips posted, so we thought we'd share some with you, today, in this time of mourning. Safe for work, unless you work somewhere where they have no souls. ...Or get uncomfortable when Judd Nelson describes teen sex in intimate detail. Or have a strict anti-Anthony Michael Hall policy. (There's a lot of AMH in these clips.)